Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, aka the Milwaukee Cannibal, cursed the rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 men and also boys between 1978 and 1991, with numerous of his later on murders additionally involving necrophilia, cannibalism and the long-term preservation of body parts. Dahmer was sentenced to 15 regards to life imprisonment top top February 15, 1992. Photo: Curt Borgwardt/Sygma via Getty images
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Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert Fish and also More: Why carry out Some Serial Killers Turn into Cannibals?

AuthorSarah Watts

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Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert Fish and also More: Why execute Some Serial Killers Turn into Cannibals?



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October 24, 2021


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When we hear words “cannibal,” the an initial thing that involves mind for many human being is the  Silence the the Lambs villain, Hannibal Lecter, a serial killer that would eat his victims’ organs through a glass that wine. But while Lecter is a fictional character, the is based on several real-life murderers that dined on their victims after ~ a kill.

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Cannibals have always existed throughout human history, according to anthropologists: as a cure for overpopulation, a method of survival throughout a famine, or also a method to complete with grief, nearly every society has consumed human beings for some reason at one point in time.

But what’s not so common are murderers that kill because that sport and also then devour their victims. The the estimated 2,000 active serial killers in the united States, between five and 10 are most likely cannibals as well, says Dr. Eric Hickey, professor the forensic psychology at Walden University.
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Cannibals, claims Hickey, are nearly never true psychopaths, who have actually trouble making systematic connections through other human beings. In general, they often tend to develop extreme attachments come people and also suffer indigenous neediness and also low self-esteem.

“Cannibals tend to feel really insecure and also can’t have actually normal relationships,” Hickey says. “Eating their victims gives them a feeling of power, due to the fact that their victims have the right to never leave.”

Because cannibals deserve to have emotionally attachments, your victims’ deaths room usually quick, wanting to preventive the other human pain. “They’re no interested in their victim suffering, like Ted Bundy was. They’re not searching for sadism. They merely want accessibility to the body,” says Hickey.

What’s more, cannibalism is typically a sex-related act: “Whenever killers eat other people, they’re acting out a fantasy about relationships and also intimacy,” Hickey says. “They start trying out with sex-related fantasies about voyeurism and necrophilia, and also as they’re fantasizing they discover that behavior. Girlfriend don’t generally see human being jump from killing to eating. That starts through watching world sleep, climate drugging victims, then you desire to be with someone who’s buried or unconscious—and that progresses indigenous there.”

Here are 6 killers that stalked, murdered and eventually consumed their victims. Please note, the complying with content has disturbing account of extreme violence and sexual violence.  Discretion is advised.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes were so heinous they make headlines about the world. For an ext than a decade, Dahmer lured men to his apartment through the promise of sex or money and also drugged his victims before dismembering them. As soon as police raided his apartment in July 1991, they discovered various body parts from his 17 victims, such together severed heads, arms and also torsos, stored in his freezer. Dahmer later admitted to eat the thighs, hearts and also organs of many of his victims.

During his jail sentence, Dahmer would apparently fashion his food into severed limbs—complete with ketchup “blood”—to shock the various other inmates. This “taunting” led to fellow inmate, Christopher Scarver beating Dahmer to fatality in 1994.

Albert Fish

In January 1936, Albert Fish was executed because that the murder of 10-year-old elegant Budd, who he had lured far from her parents 2 years earlier under the pretense of going to a date of birth party. Fish had actually taken grace to an abandoned house, strangled she to death and also dismembered her body—but that didn’t protect against there.

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After Grace’s murder, Fish sent a letter to she grieving family, detailing exactly how he had consumed parts of her body after she died. When police captured up through Fish, he confessed to two other murders and also told police that had likewise consumed the body parts of a 4-year-old boy called Billy Gaffney. In a letter come his attorney, Fish confessed that he drank Gaffney’s blood and had make a stew out of his organs.

Boone Helm

Born in 1828, Levi Boone Helm invested his teenager years goading world into fights and also ran off to California in his early on 20s ~ murdering his cousin. In California, and also then later on in Oregon, Helm began to construct a taste for human flesh, cannibalizing a friend that had passed away by suicide and then killing and also eating ranchers and other fugitives when he to be on the run from law enforcement.

But Helm claims he had actually a ethical duty come dispose the the continues to be of his victim in such a gruesome way. Prior to his capture and execution on January 14, 1864, Helm confessed come friends that he had actually killed numerous men and had “been obliged to feed on several of ’em.”

Gregory Scott Hale

Before his June 8, 2014 arrest, Gregory Scott Hale of Summitville, Tennessee to be posting part disturbing things on his an individual Facebook page. Follow to reports, Hale on regular basis joked about killing, eating and also burying civilization in his backyard.

But Hale’s musings quickly came to be a reality: After picking up a mrs at a local liquor store, Hale lugged her back to his house, murdered her and also then admitted to police later on that the had eaten a part of her body.

When police officers searched Hale’s backyard, they uncovered the decapitated head, hands and feet the his victim, 36-year-old Lisa Marie Hyder. The victim’s heart was later uncovered in a neighbor’s yard, wherein Hale had actually thrown it before his arrest.

Andrei Chikatilo

Nicknamed “The Butcher that Rostov” and also “The Red Ripper,” Andrei Chikatilo was among the most prolific killers in Ukraine, confessing to 56 killing (though only charged through 53) during his 12-year-long crime spree.

Some experts think Chikatilo, who started killing in the late 1970s, became interested in cannibalism at very early age. He claimed his mom would phone call him around an older brother who had been killed and also cannibalized by their neighbors. Back the story was never verified, the would match up through the aftermath of the great Ukrainian scarcity of the 1930s in which prevalent cannibalism to be documented.

As one adult, Chikatilo would lure young women into the woods, rape and also mutilate them, and also then eat their sexual organs, and removing various other body parts like your nose and also eyes. Chikatilo to be arrested in 1990 and executed because that his crimes in 1994.

Issei Sagawa

Born in Japan in 1949, Issei Sagawa competent “cannibalistic urges” at a young age. In one interview with Vice News, Sagawa defines looking at his elementary-school classmates and longing to eat their flesh, stating that he became obsessed with eating “tall, healthy-looking western women” because of an inferiority complex.

At age 27, Sagawa relocated to Paris to research at the Sorbonne, whereby he later on met classmate Renee Hartevelt and also persuaded her to come ago to his apartment to analyze poetry for him. There, Sagawa shot and killed Hartevelt, raped she corpse and also ate parts of she body over the following several days.

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Sagawa, later on nicknamed the “Paris Cannibal,” was at some point caught and deported come Japan, whereby he was committed to a mental institution—but because of a technicality, Sagawa can not it is in legally detained and also was set free. Sagawa remains cost-free to this day, and also lives on his very own in Kawasaki, Japan.

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